Tuesday, March 22, 2011

No, it's not because people think he's gay

Unmarried Pastor, Seeking a Job, Sees Bias

Mr. Almlie, 37, has been shocked, he says, at what he calls unfair discrimination, based mainly on irrational fears: that a single pastor cannot counsel a mostly married flock, that he might sow turmoil by flirting with a church member, or that he might be gay. If the job search is hard for single men, it is doubly so for single women who train for the ministry, in part because many evangelical denominations explicitly require a man to lead

I don't think this guy's problems are because of fears that he might be gay. The fact that he's unmarried means any attempts he makes at tasks like marriage counseling will be purely theoretical. I've spoken to a few Catholics who insist that it's a GOOD thing Priests providing marriage counseling aren't "tainted" by experience, but damn it, if I want advice I want it from someone who has some relevant experience, not a theoretician who never put the theory into practice himself.

A big part of Christian theology is the human aspect of Christ. His coming to Earth and becoming one of us is part of the redemption. He KNOWS what it's like to face death and pain, to be temped as a man. Having walked in the shoes of the person you're speaking to is a major advantage in any kind of counseling, be it spiritual or secular.

As far as fears of him flirting with parishioners, that too is likely not a real issue. Single pastors are targets in a church. Plenty of marriage minded women set their sights on single minsters. This is to be expected. True, pushing 40 and being unmarried is going to trigger some "so what's WRONG with him that no one has married him?" speculation, but the lack of relevant experience is probably a bigger issue.

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